So today just happens to be my SIX YEAR blogoversary! Yep, I started this blog on July 11, 2011, on a whim, with very little planning or thought. In fact, I pretty much used the first name that popped into my head—I mean, come on! Who calls their blog “Books, Bones & Buffy”?? (I’ve come to regret that name, and yet I can’t bring myself to change it, for whatever reason.) I find it hard to believe I’m still blogging, and despite some ups and downs, I don’t plan on quitting any time soon.
So I thought I’d take a little trip down memory lane, and share some of my favorite (and not so favorite) things about my blogging journey. And because it’s been six years, yes I am doing everything in sixes;-)
Let’s start with the obvious:
Favorite book read in each year of blogging:
(I must be crazy to try to decide my FAVORITE book of each year! Ugh)
2011 – Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. I wasn’t getting any review copies at this point, except from self-published authors, so the traditionally published books I read and reviewed were all purchased.
2012 – 11/22/63 by Stephen King. This book came out in 2011, but I didn’t get to it until the following year. This is also the only SK book I’ve read since I started blogging! (and I never wrote a review for it.)
2013 – Vicious by V.E. Schwab. This is still one of my all time favorite books.
2014 – Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel. Boy, 2014 was a FANTASTIC year for reading! It was extremely hard to pick just one book.
2015 – Another tough year to pick, but after a little thought I’m going with Afterparty by Daryl Gregory. So good.
2016 – Last year I completely gave up on the “top ten” thing, and just listed my favorite books. Which makes it even harder to choose just one! But I think I’m going to have to say The Suicide Motor Club by Christopher Buehlman.
Six Things I’ve Learned About Blogging
1. Giveaways posts = empty stats.
I’ll admit I used to run giveaways simply to inflate my post views. In the early days when I was trying to get on publishers’ lists for review copies, I wanted to make my numbers look good. And giveaways do that—for a limited time. But when the giveaway is over, all you’ve got left are your regular visitors who actually enjoy reading your reviews. Instead of increasing my readership, which is what I thought giveaways would do, I simply attracted “giveaway junkies” who came for the goods and promptly left, until the next giveaway.
2. Always send a “thank you” and a link to the publicists who send you review copies
This sounds like a no-brainer, but it took me a long time to realize I should be doing this, I’m not sure why. If a publicist is kind enough to send you an ARC, then always make sure to follow up after you post the review, thanking them for the review copy and also sending a link to your blog post. Even if you didn’t like the book.
3. Try your best to commit to promises, but don’t be afraid to apologize if you can’t follow through.
Bloggers are people, and people make mistakes. I always feel bad when I can’t review a book in a timely manner, but I’ve learned it’s always best to let the publicist know that you’re struggling to make a commitment. They are people too, and they understand.
4. Don’t compare yourself to other bloggers.
This is something I will probably always struggle with, but I’m trying to get better. It’s hard when you follow “superstar” bloggers who surely have more followers, get more comments, read more books, have a more eye-catching blog design, get more review copies…you get the picture! We’re all different, and we all have different strengths. Be yourself no matter what.
5. Keeping track of comments and commenting back is HARD. But try to do these things anyway.
Commenting is definitely one of the hardest things about blogging for me. Which is silly and doesn’t make sense, right? Finding bloggers who read the same books you do is ultimately one of the most rewarding parts of blogging. But when you have limited time for blogging to begin with, taking even more time to comment back and visit those bloggers who leave comments is something I have to make myself do. And sometimes I suck at it. For all those bloggers who I don’t respond to right away, I apologize. It’s not that I don’t want to, I just don’t always have time.
6. You may think your blog is your life, but it’s not.
Repeat after me. Don’t feel bad if you need to take time off. Don’t feel bad if you want to spend time with you family instead of blogging! My blog is an important part of my life, but there is a lot more to me than just this blog.
Six Blogging Goals for the Future
1. Read more.
I mean, duh.
2. Write shorter reviews.
I feel like my reviews are too long, and I’d love to cut them down by at least 200 words or more. Most of my reviews are about 1,000 words. Is this normal? I’d love to hear about how many words your reviews are on average.
3. Write my reviews faster.
I stress over how well my reviews are written. I spend a lot of time proofreading and editing, and then at the end of the day I’m still not 100% happy with them. This is taking way too long!
4. More interaction with authors.
I do love hosting authors on the blog, and doing interviews. But honestly, they are so time-consuming and I don’t think readers are that interested. Most of my interviews have pretty low stats.
5. Find more like-minded bloggers and leave more comments.
I really want to get better at this, I do! I have a handful of blogs that I visit and leave comments on (and you know who you are), but there are so many awesome bloggers out there that I just don’t interact with much. And it’s not that I don’t want to, it’s a time thing.
6. Read some backlist books from my favorite authors
Reading anything except review books is nearly impossible these days. But I’d love to get to a place where I can stop requesting/accepting so many review books and actually have time each month to read some backlist books.
Six Posts with the Most Views
I don’t usually have time to dig deep into all the stats information on WordPress, but it’s actually pretty cool. I thought it would be fun to go all the way back to the beginning and see what my most viewed posts are.
This is my most viewed post ever. And believe it or not, I still get views every single day. I really need to write more posts like this!
It’s funny that this post is so popular, especially since I stopped cataloging my books?? Oops. Yeah, I have so many and so little extra time that my intentions to completely scan each book in my library lasted about a week before I gave up.
I’m afraid the title of this post misled a lot of people, who saw this in their email inbox and assumed they had won something. Oopsies. I really wasn’t trying for clickbait (I don’t even think “clickbait” was a word back in 2013). I was actually ranting because I had won a giveaway but I never received the book I won.
Now this puzzles me. This is my all-time most viewed book review. Huh? Now granted, it was one of the first books I reviewed, but still!
Another “huh?” I can only guess that the author saw this and helped promote this post.
Now this review makes more sense. I loved this series and the second book was outstanding.
Six Posts That I Wish More People Would Read
Ah, my step children. I poured a lot of love into these posts, and yet. WHY DID NO ONE READ THEM??
Yes, I wrote this way back when. I had a pretty funny experience when Fifty Shades first came out, and I wanted to do a combination review/story about trying to buy the book. This was before the book became “famous.” (or should I say “infamous”?)
I am still feeling the sting of this experience, but it seems like not that many people were interested. I really thought this would be a more popular post, but oh well.
This post is related to the last one a bit. I touch on why WordPress kicked me out, as well as another humiliating blog tour experience. Yeah, and what have you learned from those experiences, Tammy? Nothing? Oh right, you’re still doing blog tours!
I wrote this on a whim, I was bored and I wanted to do something different. It was really fun to write, but it remains one of my least-visited posts, for some reason. I know you all would rather not know the truth…
Seriously, this is the best thing I’ve ever found on the internet, in regards to book blogging. If you haven’t seen it, please click now!
This is so sad. I don’t think anyone saw this post. I wrote it way back in my first few months of blogging, when no one was following me. It’s a love letter to Stephen King’s The Dark Tower series, which to this day is one of the best reading experiences I’ve ever had.
Wow, that was cathartic? Depressing? Not sure yet. Moving on…
And finally, if you’re still reading this, I’m actually having a GIVEAWAY!
In celebration of six years of blogging, I will be randomly selecting SIX winners, who can pick ANY BOOK I’ve reviewed on this blog (including Handling the Undead, lol. You know you want to read it…). No Rafflecopter this time, this will be simple (or maybe not). Simply send an email to booksbonesbuffy(at)att(dot)net with the subject line “Six Year Giveaway” and tell me which book you’d love to read. I’ll give you, let’s say, two weeks? INTERNATIONAL! Yes, anyone can enter, provided The Book Depository ships to your country.
In conclusion, I’m happy that I’ve been able to keep blogging for so long (although I know in the blogging world there are many blogs that are much older than mine). Everyone is talking about the “decline of blogging” but I say HELL NO. There is no timeline for doing something you love.
Thanks everyone, for sticking with me!